HBO finally agreed Monday to amend its documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," after Los Angeles Superior Court officials complained the film's conclusion was a "complete fabrication."
The documentary, which had already been screened at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, originally asserted that a local judge had offered the director a deal whereby he could return to the United States with no jail time if he allowed the legal proceedings to be televised. In 1977 to wide media fanfare, Polanski was charged with a host of sexual crimes for his involvement with a 13-year-old girl. He was subsequently convicted of unlawful intercourse with a minor, but fled the country in 1978 before final sentencing.
Allan Parachini, public information officer for the court, said that the offer alluded to in Marina Zenovich's documentary "never occurred."
He added that the "fabricated reference" to the televised hearing had "the potential to . . . enormously" injure the reputation of judge Larry Paul Fidler and that court officials had been pressuring Zenovich and HBO to correct the film for about a week.
The documentary's amended version, which premiered Monday on HBO, stated that the judge insisted Polanski would serve no more jail time as long as the hearing were held "in public, on the record, and in court."
However, the documentary added, given the possibility that it could be televised, Polanski declined.
-- Greg Braxton